CIOIT Best Practices

6 Skills for CIOs to Become Better Strategic Thinkers

Strategic thinking is an asset not only for the business world, but something that can be immensely useful in life in general. Being able to not only put the puzzle together but be able to find all the pieces hidden under the couch in the first place is invaluable. In an article for Enterprise CIO Forum, Joel Dobbs elaborates on specific skills that will enhance your ability to think strategically.

Six Skills for Better Thinking

  1. The ability to see the big picture
  2. Focus on successes
  3. Creative thinking
  4. Asking the right questions
  5. Challenge the norm
  6. Have time for reflection

When a person is developing a strategy, it is really just a road map to reach a future goal. In order to ultimately reach this place of success, the person drawing the map needs to be able to visualize what the end really looks like. The ability to envision success is crucial to get there. In order to gain customer satisfaction, a person needs to be able to focus on successful outcomes. Do they really understand the customer’s wants and needs? Focusing specifically on “what” they need to deliver will help sort out the direction to take.

As for creative thinking, it is not just reserved for artists–it is invaluable for people in any career to be able to think of innovative ways to accomplish goals and overcome problems. The most difficult thing to do is to overcome old, routine habits and redefine your best practices. In that same vein, asking questions strengthens people’s own skills. “What if?” and “Why not?” are the imperative questions to be asking to push for success in all endeavors. The mentality of “if it is not broke, do not fix it” is gone and has been replaced with the drive to constantly do better. Long-term success depends upon constant new ideas to keep current. Be daring and ask the questions no one seems to have the guts to ask and try something new!

Lastly, the most fundamental thing to do when enhancing strategic thinking ability is to take the time to actually think. The mind is a muscle and should be exercised daily to improve its capacity to think differently and fully. You can read the original article here:

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  1. I enjoy the work CAI does and these publications. I’m a bit curious about the credibility and legitimacy of these postings as they are authored by someone whose only credentials listed are that she’s currently styling English and HR at university. Are there others behind her performing the research and she’s left to “word smith” the article? Does she bring other experience that’s not listed? As a “critical thinker” I tend to not simply accept what’s printed but challenge what’s said and who’s saying. Certainly, background and experience add to the credibility of the writing.

    This is not meant to disparage Mis Koehler but offer a suggestion to address what others may see as a weakness in what CAI is publishing.


    1. Hi Dan,

      Thank you for reading AITS. Your constructive criticism is very fair and your point is well-taken. Certainly, legitimacy is very important to us. But while Miss Koehler does have some unlisted background in management, in truth, her function as a staff writer for AITS actually does not include much in the way of editorializing. You see, the purpose of AITS is to collect sterling IT and project management insights from across the web in one convenient location. As a result, Miss Koehler’s job is to accurately summarize and convey the thoughts of other people as pristinely as possible—it is by design not the present intention of AITS for us to provide much in the way of color commentary. When you agree or disagree with the standard content that AITS provides, you agree or disagree with the source whom we thought was worth sharing with our audience.

      Of course, it would nonetheless be far from the truth to say that AITS has no interest in sharing original content. That is why we have the AITS Blogging Alliance and other exclusive articles to provide that “in the trenches” commentary that is also necessary.

      I hope this helps to clear up some of your confusion, and I welcome any further suggestions or critiques for improvement. Thank you again very much for reading AITS, and I hope you have wonderful holidays.


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